Enjoyed goddess’s rational perspective. As for Nina’s quote, “Perhaps she thinks we should choose the dignity of minimum wage jobs, early pregnancies and abusive marriages over the relative autonomy we enjoy as independent tradespeople,” the implication that it’s either being a Khan Tusion “meathole” is somehow NOBLER, BRAVER, BETTER FOR SOCIETY than being that minimum-wage person who serves her and her Volvo liberal buddies their meals at a diner or restaurant, or rings up that new pair of jeans, etc. kinda spells it out.
I think the trouble with a lot of veterans of the industry is that they come to define their own identity so much via their long-time place in it that they can’t stand an iota of criticism of this business — or a call to look clearly at how times have changed — because they consider it an assault on their own identities and the path in life they’ve chosen. I particularly enjoy being told I’m “wrong” or my perspective is skewed over situations I directly witness or hear about first-hand on a day-to-day basis by people who either don’t even live in L.A. or stay on their genteel side of the fence where everyone is enlightened and plays fair.
Buddhists would point out there is no such thing as a job to be ashamed of, as long as that job doesn’t do harm to others or yourself; the only thing to be ashamed of is deliberately doing a job badly. Each of us tries to find our own reason for being and rewards from the paths we choose to walk down in life, and it’s a twisted perspective indeed that holds up the basic self-indulgence and selfishness of choosing a life as a courtesan, porn star or massage parlor piece worker, or for that matter of a writer, artist and/or pornographer, as somehow “more evolved” and in any way more important to society. Speaking as someone who’s chosen the self-indulgent path of an artist, I remain at all times thoroughly aware that if I were not to show up to work today, it would not have the negative impact on as many people as a fry cook, bus driver, phlebotomist, janitor, etc, deciding to skip …
And Bob Writes:
I enjoyed the hell out of Goddess’s essay. I have said the same things to myself way too many times over the last few years, and never quite as eloquently.
I saw my first porn way back in 1972, when I was 16 years old, and have been a fan ever since. Those of us who saw a lot of what was produced then know better than to romanticize the Golden Age. There were some incredibly hot movies back then, and I am a Golden Age fan. Watch Seka, Marilyn, Veronica Hart and some of the others and you see that they were stars who took facials, did anal and DP while turning in performances that still do it for me today.
At the same time, there was a lot of garbage then too. Some of it was just bad porn, including some that starred my favorite performers, but some of it was abusive and violent and some of was downright creepy. I was recently watching Vista Valley PTA, which includes a scene where Jamie Gillis, a minister, abuses Sharon Kane, his daughter. It gives me the chills, and not in a good way.
That said, I think Goddess is absolutely right there is a very nasty streak that is more pervasive in porn today than in the past — the proverbial 80/20 rule has been turned on its head — and it is very hard to defend. I see too little porn today that’s about people having raucous hot sweaty sex with people they seem to like. I see a lot that’s repellant.
I’m a big admirer of Nina Hartley. I’ve watched her for years, and she still turns me on. And I think that she’s an articulate intelligent voice for the industry.
But posing the question: what would you have people do when all they have is a high school education and face a string of minimum wage jobs? is a cop out.
It assumes that every girl who enters porn is going to become a star, make tons of cash and create a meaningful life that will lift her out of the cycle of poverty.
Mike, you would know this better than me, but I’m guessing that your average porn chick does not become Jenna Jameson; does not last more than a year or two in the business; and probably doesn’t make more than $30,000 to $50,000 for those couple of years.
What do they do after the lights go out, when no one’s interested in putting them on a box cover, and they are 28 and can’t strip? What kind of job do you get that’s going to carry you through the next 30 or 40 years, when what you put on your resume is: starred in “She Swallows Buckets Of Cum Vol. 9”.
If Nina wants to make the case for sex workers, she should at least be honest about the reality of the job for those who never make it to her status.
Maybe I’m way off base here. Maybe ex-porn stars all go on to lead healthy lives as incredibly productive members of society. But I’m guessing most blow the cash that does come their way and end up in the kinds of jobs and marriages Nina dreads anyway.